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Holiday Promotions 2022: Time to Start Planning!

By Patti Keitzman on Sep 4, 2022

You may feel like the holidays are a world away, but it’s past time to start planning your holiday promotions for your retail business. After all, 43% of people start their holiday shopping before Halloween!

It’s no secret that holiday shopping can be the difference between a successful year and a failed one for retailers. Holiday shopping can make up  to 30 percent of a retailer’s annual sales.

The good news is, that consumers are feeling more confident this year, and 29 percent of holiday shoppers plan to spend more than last year.

So. hang some festive decorations around your office and let’s get going on your holiday promotions plan! Marketing across all channels such as Pay Per Click ads, blog posts, social media posts, Facebook ads, emails, etc., should reflect the upcoming holidays.

1. Start Early

It’s never too early to start planning for holiday promotions. By the beginning of October, you should have your plan fully formed and ready to pull the trigger. The end of summer is not too early to start planning for holiday shopping.

If you don’t have your plan in place and you are reading this in October, get started immediately. Pull in outside marketers if necessary. There is a lot at stake.

Sure, some people wait to the last minute to shop, and you should have special promotions for them. But we have already seen that a big percentage is already holiday shopping in October. You want to get into their heads as soon as they start thinking about the holidays.

2. Set Goals

The holidays are so important to retail businesses, that there may be a tendency to jump in and start lobbing marketing initiatives at anything that moves.

Stop a minute and determine what you really need to accomplish with your marketing.

  • Your goals need to be specific, not just “increase sales” or similar.
  • You need to be realistic. What can you really achieve during this holiday season?
  • Make sure your goals are relevant to holiday marketing. Don’t include everything you want to accomplish next year. That’s another plan.
  • Specify what target markets you want to hit particularly hard.
  • Set time frames for your campaigns and what you want to accomplish within each time frame.
  • Finally, make sure you include how to measure your efforts so you know how successful you have been and know if you need to tweak what you are doing.

3. Put Feeling into Your Holiday Messaging

The messages you send your customers during holiday promotions should be consistent with your year-round messaging but not the same. You want to promote the holidays of course. You also want to lean heavier on emotional appeals.

We’ve seen time and again that consumers buy more with the heart than the head. This is particularly true at the holidays when people are thinking about getting together with loved ones and building memories. The holidays ignite a mixture of emotions that can encourage users to make your company part of their holiday shopping if you frame your appeal well.

People are feeling nostalgic, and that should be reflected in your messages and interactions. Don’t be afraid to be transparent and show how your company is celebrating the holidays. Behind the scenes looks that show your company’s humanity are increasingly important at any time, but more so at the holidays.

4. Time Your Messages for Ultimate Impact

It’s not enough just to develop holiday campaigns across your channels. You need to be aware of when specific ads, email, social media posts, and other marketing should drop. There are key shopping dates and periods in the holiday season. You must plan for them.

Think about messaging and offers for

  • Early shoppers in October
  • Black Friday (Nov. 25, 2022)
  • Small Business Saturday (Nov. 26, 2022)
  • Cyber Monday (Nov. 28, 2022)
  • Last minute shoppers

Holiday shopping is usually a process rather an event. Most people are still shopping through the month of December even though they may start earlier. So, you will want to target messaging and campaigns throughout the entire shopping season not just for specific days like Black Friday.

5. Develop Warm Holiday Designs

Whether for advertising, social media or relevant blog posts, your marketing leading up to the holidays should reference the holidays in both copy and design. Don’t just throw a Christmas tree on an ad (nothing against Christmas trees) and call it a day. Give some real thought on how your ad or social media post design can evoke warm, positive feelings that people will then connect to your company.

6. Retarget Customers

The holidays are make or break it for many retailers. Now is the time to use all that data you’ve been collecting to retarget those who have visited your site.

If they return to your site, you can show them things they viewed or left in a shopping cart and related items. Remember, when people are holiday shopping, they often tend to pick up a little something for themselves.

You can also show them ads of these same items they viewed on your site as they travel around the Internet to other sites. Google is phasing out Chrome’s use of third party cookies in 2024, but for now you can still do it.

7. Invoke the Power of Email

Email is a very powerful way to reach out to former customers. Also don’t forget those who may have given you an email address but didn’t buy anything or abandoned their shopping carts.

You will, of course, want to send emails to those who abandon their carts reminding them the item is still waiting for them.

Send personalized emails to your customers and subscribers that tell them about your holiday promotions and any special products you have for the holiday. Segment your customers so you are sending email personalized to them beyond just calling them by name. Keep in mind The 10 Musts of Email Copywriting.

Of course, you will also want to add holiday content to your regularly scheduled newsletter. Start lightly in October, because people are already holiday shopping then. Maybe suggest something great you are getting in for the holidays. But it’s too early for holiday design in your newsletter in October.  Hit the holiday content in newsletters heavier in November and December.

 8. Brainstorm Offers

Think about what special offers you can make at key points during the holiday shopping season that would be a win/win for both you and your customers.

Here are some possibilities

  • Free gift with purchase (The big cosmetic companies really have this one down.)
  • Discounts triggered by an event such as buying a certain amount or a certain amount of a specific item. Or a gift card discount.
  • Bundling items. You may want to offer a package of a popular item bundled with a related accessory or two, maybe one that doesn’t move that well. You give the customer a good deal and at the same time move more of your slower merchandise.
  • Free shipping, possibly on certain items or if the purchase reaches a certain threshold.

9. Engage Your Customers on Social Media

The holidays are a time for good cheer, so engage your customers with something fun.  Whether it’s Facebook, Instagram, TikTok or Twitter, the possibilities are endless. Of course, each platform has its own features, but here are some possibilities:

  • Holiday surveys can be fun and help you gather valuable information. Perhaps on a certain date there can be a drawing of those who answered for a gift card. You can mix questions unrelated to your products with a few that are about your products and use that data for targeting and segmentation. What is your favorite Christmas movie? Who is your favorite reindeer? What would you most like to receive as a gift from our store? Where are you spending the holidays this year?
  • Photo Contests can add a lot of welcome user-generated content for your company all over social media along with the hash tags you provide for your company. The possibilities are endless, but here are a few ideas:
    • Ugliest Christmas sweater contest (a classic)
    • Best exterior Christmas decorations
    • Best decorated Christmas tree
  • Quizzes are fun, and when people get a high score, they might share the results to their feed. It could be anything, such as “Name the Christmas movie each of these celebrities starred in.”
  • Polls are also fun and engaging. Once again, people often share them. An example might be Which of these holiday meals would you prefer? Or Fruitcake, yes or no?

There are many ways you can set up to engage, but more important is that your company answers comments and interacts with customers.

Need Some Help Getting Ready for Holiday Promotions?

Contact Umbrella Local for a free consultation on how we can help you make this holiday shopping season something to remember. Our experts can jump in immediately to help you make this the best year yet.



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